The end may be near for Nova Scotian students prone to caffeine-fueled study sessions and pre-math class Red Bull guzzling. After the feds passed up the opportunity to ban underage energy-shot drinking, doctors in Nova Scotia are proposing the province take up the cause.
Some Context for you
Health Canada has heard 86 claims of adverse reactions to energy drinks while the US Food and Drug Administration has 92 reports on record. There are currently 13 deaths in the US being investigated for their possible link to energy shots.
An expert panel was assembled last year by Canadas Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to look into energy beverages. The eight-person panels key recommendations were:
- The drinks should be re-labeled as stimulant drug containing drinks
- They should not be sold to minors
- They should have a warning label that clearly outlines the potentially harmful effects of caffeine
- They should not be classified as food
In October 2012, the Health Minister contravened the panels recommendations (did we mention they were all experts?) and instead shifted the classification of energy drinks from natural health products to food. Last week, Nova Scotian doctors recommended that the province ban the sale of this food to minors. It is not yet known what the province will do.
Chalk up another challenge for parents.
Those of you concerned will have to convince your kids to keep their hands off,despite being what the cool kids drink. Sharing the dangers and referring to it the way those ignored experts did as a drug could help. And it may be time to be one of those who lets the principal know how you feel about the substance being available in the cafeteria and in vending machines. Go on, get a whole bunch of parents together and gang up on the school board!
Sound like something that will take more time and energy than youve got? Before you reach for that can of Monster, try a healthier alternative first – that whole lead by example thing…
There is a softer side of caffeine with sane levels of the stimulant. Its calledgreen teaand it comes with some bonus health benefits like antioxidants. Or, sample a caffeine-free tea like Rooibos or Yerba Mate for a quick kick. Channel your inner Popeye and instead of reaching for sugar-laden energy drinks, grab a small spinach smoothie (or anyblended dark green bevvy) preferably laced with wheatgrass for some oomph without the sugar crash an hour later. If the problem is chronic, make like a celebrity and schedule a B12 shot with yournaturopath.
If nothing but an energy drink will do, just remember, moderation is key. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs like heart palpitations, anxiety, mood swings and dependency, so you can adjust your consumption accordingly.
Just because the government has decided not to label them as a drug doesnt mean that we shouldnt treat them as such. And, now that this battle appears to have moved to the provincial level, if you feel strongly about the regulation of these drinks, find a bit of energy to write your MPP.
Then kids can go back to nodding off during calculus; just like nature intended.